Baldwin: Chemistry must be translated on the court
There’s no question that the players have already developed chemistry off the court especially after going on a trip to Estonia.
But for Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin, the challenge now is for that togetherness among the players to be translated on the floor.
“We’re obviously very relaxed with one another as a team so we don’t have any chemistry issues in terms of the character, but we have to convert that into how we play and that’s what the tournament will be designed to do,” he said.
And the team is working on it, practicing doubly hard since returning from Estonia where it came up winless.
It’s no secret that the team is behind schedule when it comes to its preparations for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship and that only makes the players push harder to attain that certain level of on-court chemistry through twice-a-day training sessions.
“It’s getting better. We’re nowhere near where I want us to be and the players recognize that, Baldwin admitted. “But they also see they’re getting better. We’re getting more cohesive.”
Having an interesting group of players makes it easy for the American-New Zealander to establish a bond within the team.
“We’ve got a lot,” he said with a huge smile. “Andray (Blatche), he’s a character. He’s fun to be around. From day one last year, I think he’s enjoyed the natural attitude of the Filipino people and his Filipino teammates. It’s been a very good match in that regard,” he said.
“You can’t go past a guy like Gary (David), he is our class clown. He’s a very funny guy. Jimmy (Alapag), because of his leadership. It’s important on the more serious side.”
Then there’s the odd couple of Fil-Tongans Asi Taulava and Moala Tautuaa, who were made roommates during the team’s trip to Europe.
“I don’t know what’s up with those two. We’re still trying to figure out what planet they came from because it’s not Tonga and I don’t think it’s Earth. But they’re a lot of fun to be around, they get along with each other extremely well,” Baldwin said with a smile.
What Baldwin is hoping now is for the team’s closeness to show on the court as they leave for Taiwan and play in the Jones Cup.
“We just came off three losses in Estonia, so to see the joy they have of being around one another, it’s important. It has to be harnessed. It has to be appropriate,” said Baldwin.
“To win, it should be there, but I think they’re pretty good about that. I think the veteran leadership makes sure that the attitude stays where it should be.”
Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.